Wisconsin proposal to legalize recreational use of marijuana


Tony Evers seeks to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in Wisconsin.

Sam Norton, Staff Writer

In Wisconsin’s 2021-2023 budget, Governor Tony Evers has proposed to include a plan to legalize the use and taxation of recreational marijuana, which would make Wisconsin the 16th state in the country to do so. Many are considering the legalization to follow Illinois since they legalized marijuana’s recreational use in January 2020. Under his proposal, marijuana will be taxed like alcohol and has a possibility of generating $165 million annually.

Under Ever’s proposal, there would be regulations set by the Department of Revenue and the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection. The sale of recreational use of marijuna would be prohibited to minors, requiring a minimum age of 21 to purchase the drug, the same age for tobacco products and alcohol.

“Legalizing and taxing marijuana in Wisconsin – just like we already do with alcohol – ensures a controlled market and safe product are available for both recreation and medicinal users and can open the door for countless opportunities for us to reinvest in communities,” said Evers in a statement on Feb.7. A portion of the tax from marijuana will go towards increased funding of rural schools and reinvesting in communities through his new Community Reinvestment Fund.

Freshman Jonah David has some worries about the legalization of recreational use of marijuana. “I think we have not studied marijuana enough and it could cause more harm than good,” he said, but added, “it should be legalized to an extent because I believe in freedom and think people should be able to do what they want.” 

Robin Vos (R-Rochester) doesn’t support legalizing recreational use of marijuana, but supports its medicinal uses. “I don’t think we need to have more drugs in society, especially when we see the opioid crisis and all the rest,” he said in an interview with the Wisconsin eye.

Junior Sabrina Norton also expressed worries about the legalization of marijuana. “I think that the medicinal use of marijuana is okay to be legalized but with restrictions,” she said. “I believe that it should be available in extreme cases of chronically ill patients to relieve pain and even in fatal cases, but that it should be signed and supervised by a doctor for safe usage and not for personal use.” 

A majority of Wisconsinites do support the recreational use of marijuana. In 2019, a Marquette Law School Poll found that 59% of Wisconsinites believed that recreational use of marijuana should be legalized, while 39% said it should not.

There seems to be many fighting on both sides of the argument for unsupervised use of marijuana. Tony Evers will have to weigh both the ramifications and possible benefits of the decision to legalize marijuana’s recreational use.